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‘I’m not like Bernie Madoff’, claims FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried


Sam Bankman-Fried gave an interview to Good Morning America

The founder of FTX has claimed the implosion of the cryptocurrency exchange was “very different” to the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme amid allegations that customer funds were misused.

Sam Bankman-Fried, chief executive of the world’s second largest digital coin exchange, tried to diffuse comparisons to the biggest ever investment fraud.

In an interview with ABC, Mr Bankman-Fried said: “I think it reads very differently. When you look at the Bernie Madoff story… there was really no business there. It was just one big Ponzi scheme. FTX was a real business.”

Madoff, who was chairman of the US Nasdaq exchange and ran a leading asset management company, defrauded clients of $65bn by fabricating gains for decades at his fund. He was sentenced to 150 years in prison and died in 2021.

Mr Bankman-Fried has been accused of overseeing the use of customer deposits to prop up risky, loss-making trades at a cryptocurrency hedge fund, Alameda Research.

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FTX collapsed with an $8bn black hole in its accounts and more than one million creditors last month, rocking the cryptocurrency world and causing panicked withdrawals across the sector.

Mr Bankman-Fried claimed he had failed to spot the problems with the $34bn crypto company’s balance sheet. “I wasn’t spending any time or effort trying to manage risk on FTX,” he says.

The FTX founder said he was “vaguely aware” that money was being wired from FTX to Alameda.

Asked whether he knew funds were being used to pay off creditors at the sister business, Mr Bankman-Fried looked down and paused for eight seconds before answering: “I don’t know of FTX deposits being used to pay off Alameda creditors.”

The 30-year-old has undertaken a series of interviews denying wrongdoing since the collapse of FTX.

In his ABC engagement, he appeared to pin issues on other staff. Mr Bankman-Fried said: “There were a lot of people who were involved in that process and, look, I really deeply wish I had taken a lot more responsibility for understanding what the details were.”

FTX, along with a web of more than 130 businesses, filed for bankruptcy in November. The restructuring is being handled by John Jay Ray, a veteran who handled the bankruptcy of scandal-hit energy giant Enron in 2001.

In a court filing, Mr Ray said: “Never in my career have I seen such a complete failure of corporate controls and such a complete absence of trustworthy financial information as occurred here.”

He said that FTX had been run by “a very small group of inexperienced, unsophisticated and potentially compromised individuals”.

06:15 PM

Wrapping up

That’s all from us today – thanks for following! We’ll be back tomorrow for more live updates.

05:42 PM

Coinbase says Apple blocked NFTs in Wallet

Coinbase has said customers using iPhones will not be able to send non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the Wallet anymore after Apple blocked its latest app release.

The crypto exchange added: “Apple’s claim is that the gas fees required to send NFTs need to be paid through their In-App Purchase system, so that they can collect 30% of the gas fee.”

The 30pc fees has been a contentious point between the world’s most valuable company and other app developers like Spotify and “Fortnite” maker Epic Games, which have accused the company of misusing its “monopoly”.

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05:18 PM

NHS, Royal Mail and rail: how will December’s strikes affect the UK?

Disruption is set to plague the UK this winter as industrial action planned by trade unions will bring the country to a halt.

There is some form of industrial action planned for every day in December as rail workers, including staff at Eurostar, nurses, teachers, security guards handling cash, driving examiners and rural payments officers have announced strikes.

The true scale of the disruption is set to be significantly worse, as the union representing civil servants, including Border Force officers, Passport Office staff and National Highways employees, has backed strike action but is yet to confirm dates.

With soaring inflation fuelling a cost of living crisis, unions are demanding bumper pay increases for their members. Inflation is at 11.1pc, a 41-year high.

We’ve compiled a timeline to breakdown which strikes will be happening on each day in December:

Read more from Lauren Taverner here.

04:54 PM

HSBC boss: Beijing isn’t behind break-up push

The chief executive of HSBC has denied that a campaign by a Chinese insurer to break-up the British lender is being directed by Beijing, writes Simon Foy.

Noel Quinn, boss of the FTSE 100 bank, said Ping An’s bid to urge HSBC to spin-off its Asian business into a separate entity was not “politically motivated”.

Mr Quinn told an event hosted by the Financial Times: “I do not believe it is politically motivated based on all the dialogue we’ve had with various stakeholders. Quite the contrary.

“We’re viewed in Asia, in Hong Kong, in China as an important international bank. We’re an international bank that has been there for 157 years, helping Hong Kong develop as an economy, helping China develop. Based on the conversations we’ve had, that is a position that is still valued and people want us to take.”

There has been speculation that Ping An’s campaign is being pushed by the government in Beijing, which is trying to increase its control over Hong Kong’s financial system.

04:35 PM

Morgan Stanley making ‘modest’ job cuts, says boss

Morgan Stanley is making modest job cuts across the globe as Wall Street comes under pressure from rising interest rates.

James Gorman, chief executive, said at a Reuters conference: “Some people are going to be let go.

“We’re making some modest cuts all over the globe. In most businesses, that’s what you do after many years of growth.”

04:26 PM

Macron attacks Musk over Twitter moderation

Macron Musk Twitter – Brendan Smialowski / AFP

Emmanuel Macron has attacked Elon Musk’s efforts to loosen moderation on Twitter, calling for “exactly the opposite” of the billionaire’s sweeping changes.

The French president described Mr Musk’s stewardship of Twitter as “a big issue”, and called for the billionaire to introduce “responsibilities and limits” on violent or racist speech on the platform.

In an interview on ABC, Mr Macron said: “The limit is you cannot go in the streets and have racist speech, or antisemitic speech, you cannot put at risk the life of someone else. Violence is never legitimate in a democracy.”

Mr Musk has pledged to restore thousands of banned accounts to Twitter and edit its rules to allow more free speech on the social network.

Of Mr Musk’s decision to loosen moderation rules at Twitter, Mr Macron said: “What I push very much for, want, is exactly the opposite – more regulation.”

European regulators have warned Mr Musk that Twitter could face fines or even an outright ban under new rules for social media companies.

04:04 PM

Ryanair signs sustainable fuel memo with Shell

Ryanair Shell fuel – Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto

Ryanair has signed a memorandum with Shell which could see more than 360,000 tonnes of so-called sustainable aviation fuel delivered by the oil giant to the airline in the second half of this decade.

Ryanair said the deal had the potential to save around 900,000 tonnes of carbon emissions – equivalent to more than 70,000 flights from Dublin to Milan.

But it was unclear how the fuel would be produced. Sustainable aviation fuel is very rare in the industry today.

Ryanair said it could be “produced from multiple different technology pathways and a broad range of sustainable feedstocks”.

Aviation accounts for around 3pc of global emissions, according to estimates, and due to their weight batteries are unlikely to be the solution to the sector’s emissions.

04:01 PM

Handing over

That’s all from me. This blog’s old friend James Warrington will take you from here.

03:42 PM

Joules to shut 19 stores after Next snaps up brand in last-minute deal

High street retailer Next has secured a last minute deal to buy Joules, after gazumping the South African group behind Hobbs and Whistles to acquire the business out of bankruptcy.

Chief business correspondent Oliver Gill has the details:

FTSE 100 retailer Next will take on 100 Joules stores as well as its head office in Market Harborough, Leicestershire, saving 1,450 jobs.

However, 19 stores will be closed with the loss of 133 jobs as part of a deal that Next put together with the company’s founder Tom Joule.

City sources said that Foschini Group, whose brands include Hobbs, Whistles and Phase Eight, had entered into exclusive talks with Joules’ administrators Interpath on Wednesday morning.

The period of exclusivity ended at noon, however. Next, which is understood to have previously tabled a lower offer, subsequently sweetened its offer yesterday afternoon to secure the deal.

Read the list of stores set to close.

03:14 PM

US stocks hit by slowdown in manufacturing

Stocks in the US pared gains in early trading after data showed US manufacturing contracted in November for the first time since May 2020, tempering optimism with a report that highlighted signs inflation is abating.

The S&P 500 pushed away from session highs, while Salesforce weighed on the Dow Jones Industrial Average as the software company gave an outlook that reflects a weaker economy.

The dollar has slumped as the pound surged 2pc to $1.23, its highest level since June 27.

The Institute for Supply Management’s gauge of factory activity slid to 49 from 50.2 in the prior month.

A score above 50 indicates manufacturing growth, while below 50 shows a contraction.

02:46 PM

Wall Street opens higher

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq opened higher after data showed a mild easing in inflation and solid consumer spending in October, adding to hopes of a likely downshift in the Federal Reserve’s aggressive rate hike policy.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 56.2 points, or 0.2pc, at the open to 34533.59.

The S&P 500 rose 0.2pc to 4087.14​, while the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.1pc to 11475.172 at the opening bell.

02:42 PM

EU ‘poised to agree $60 oil price cap if Poland agrees’

European Union governments have tentatively agreed on a $60 a barrel price cap on Russian seaborne oil, with an adjustment mechanism to keep the cap at 5pc below the market price, an EU diplomat said.

Poland, which had pushed for the cap to be as low as possible, has until 3pm to agree to the deal, which would need to be approved by all EU governments in a written procedure by Friday, the diplomat said.

Polish diplomats said consultation with Warsaw was ongoing.

EU diplomats said that Lithuania and Estonia, which had backed Poland’s push to set the cap as low as possible, were also on board with the $60 limit.

The price of oil has rallied today with international benchmark Brent crude up 2.1pc to $88 a barrel and WTI crude rising 2.3pc towards $83.

02:37 PM

Google to appeal record EU fine

Google will take its appeal of the record €4.3bn (£3.7bn) fine handed out by the European Union over its dominance in the Android mobile market to the bloc’s top court.

The penalty hits at the heart of the US tech giant’s power over the Android mobile-phone ecosystem, and in September judges mostly sided with the European Commission’s arguments but reduced the overall fine to €4.1bn (£3.5bn).

Google said in a statement:

There are areas that require legal clarification.

Android has created more choice for everyone, not less, and supports thousands of successful businesses in Europe and around the world.

The Android case is one of a trio of decisions that have been the centrepiece of the bloc’s competition chief Margrethe Vestager’s bid to rein in the growing dominance of Silicon Valley.

She has fined Alphabet’s Google more than €8bn (£6.9bn) and has since opened new investigations into the company’s suspected stranglehold over digital advertising.

02:22 PM

Pickled onions off Christmas menu as strikes announced

Sarsons Vinegar may also be off the menu this Christmas

Pickle lovers face being denied their favourite condiments this Christmas amid strike action.

Workers at the Mizkan Euro factory in Rochdale – which makes Haywards Pickled Onions, Sarsons Vinegar and Haywards Pickled Vegetables – have 13 days of strike action planned, including today.

The 50 plus workers, who are members of Unite, have already taken 19 days of strike action since October in a dispute over pay.

The walkouts will take place on December 2, 5 until 10 and 12 until 16.

01:50 PM

Pound surges to highest level since August

The pound has climbed to its highest level since August after comments from the US Federal Reserve chairman sent the value of the dollar tumbling.

Sterling is up 1.3pc today to $1.22 after Jerome Powell said that US rate increases could be scaled back “as soon as December”.

The pound has also performed well against the euro, which is down 0.4pc to be worth less than 86p.

01:43 PM

‘It’s been a really humbling fall in a lot of ways,’ says FTX founder

Mr Bankman-Fried recently took out a $1bn loan, which he said was “generally for reinvesting in the company”.

Adding it was “not for personal consumption”, the FTX founder told ABC News that “to my knowledge I have basically nothing left”. He said:

Basically everything I had was invested in the business.

I expect I’m going to have nothing at the end of this.

I’ve got $100,000 left in my bank account, last I checked, and I think I have one credit card working with that right now.

Acknowledging that in the summer he had “probably $20bn”, he said: “It’s been a really humbling fall in a lot of ways.”

01:27 PM

Sam Bankman-Fried: The world will judge me as it will

Asked during his Good Morning America interview about suggestions he could go to prison for a long time, Sam Bankman-Friend said:

At the end of the day, it’s not my call what happens.

The world will judge me as it will.

There are a lot of things that are worrying me right now and best as possible I’m trying to focus on what I can do going forward to be helpful and let whatever regulatory and legal processes play out.

01:19 PM

Sam Bankman-Fried: Ultimately, I should have been on top of this… I wasn’t

Asked whether he knew FTX deposits were being funnelled to Aladema Research, Sam Bankman-Fried said: “I was vaguely aware that that was how some wires were being sent in the first place.”

Questioned on Good Morning America whether that set off alarm bells, Mr Bankman-Fried responded:

There are a lot of people who are involved in that process and, look, I really deeply wish that I had taken a lot more responsibility for understanding what the details were of what was going on there.

I knew that legal was involved. I knew that other groups at the company were involved and that there were agreements drafted up.

And ultimately I should have been on top of this. I feel really bad and regretful that I wasn’t.

A lot of people got hurt and that’s on me.

01:03 PM

FTX founder denies knowing Alameda creditors were paid with FTX funds

Sam Bankman-Fried, the disgraced founder of the collapsed crypto exchange FTX, has given an interview to Good Morning America, which aired today.

He denied knowing that deposits from customers using FTX were used to pay creditors to its sister company Alameda Research.

Asked by interviewer George Stephanopoulos whether he knew, Mr Bankman-Fried looked down and paused for eight seconds before answering: “I don’t know of FTX deposits being used to pay off Alameda creditors.”

Here is the interview:

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12:53 PM

Barclays fined £8.4m for lack of transparency on fees

Barclays – REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

Barclays has been fined £8.4m for failing to provide retailers with adequate transaction information, leaving many unable to easily understand the fees associated with certain types of card payments.

The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) said the lender failed to comply with rules for more than three years between December 2015 and December 2018.

Barclays processed a third of all card payment transactions in Britain during that time.

Interchange fees are the tolls charged to retailers for accepting certain types of card payments.

Chris Hemsley, the PSR’s managing director, said: “Barclays’ failure to be transparent with retailers about the fees they pay for card services meant retailers could have been missing out on better deals.”

It is the second time the PSR has published a bank fine in relation to interchange fee regulation, after it fined Natwest £1.8m earlier this year for overcharging on credit card fees.

12:33 PM

Next buys Joules out of insolvency

Joules has been bought by Next – BOB BERRY / Alamy Stock Photo

Next has bought retailer Joules out of insolvency, winning a bidding war against rival store owners.

Joules tumbled into administrators on November 16, putting 1,600 jobs at risk.

The maker of colourful coats and Wellies had already warned it would struggle to repay a £5m loan due at the end of November.

Next had previously been in talks with Joules to buy a minority stake in the business for £15m, but those discussions fell through earlier this year.

It is teaming up with Joules founder Tom Joule on the purchase.

Joules, which started life as a clothing stall at a country show in Leicestershire in the 1980s, posted multiple profit warnings this year amid supply chain difficulties and waning consumer appetite due to the cost-of-living crisis.

Next is understood to have triumphed over other interested retailers including South Africa’s Foschini Group, which owns Phase Eight, Hobbs and Whistles.

Mike Ashley’s Frasers and M&S also showed interest in the company.

12:07 PM

Ford invests in electric vehicle drive at Liverpool plant

Staff at Ford’s Halewood plant – REUTERS/Phil Noble

Ford will spend about £150m on expanding production of electric vehicle parts at its Halewood plant near Liverpool.

The investment will increase capacity by 70pc to 420,000 power units per year. The units replace the engine and transmission of traditional combustion-powered vehicles.

The company aims to sell 600,000 electric vehicles a year in Europe by 2026.

11:40 AM

UK has restored credibility, says HSBC chief

The boss of HSBC said the UK has regained its economic credibility following the disastrous mini-Budget.

Noel Quinn, chief executive of the 157-year-old lender, said Rishi Sunak’s government had recovered the country’s standing in international markets after a “very difficult period of time” and credited the actions taken by the Prime Minister. He told the Financial Times Global Banking Summit:

I think the confidence has come back into the appropriate balance between fiscal and monetary policy.

I think it was a very challenging few weeks, but we have moved on from that and I think we’re much more stable, and the UK is still very investable, in my opinion.

His comments come after Charlie Nunn, who leads rival Lloyds Banking Group, said on Tuesday there was still “nervousness” among global investors in the wake of unfunded tax cuts unveiled in September that led to the downfall of Liz Truss’s government.

11:17 AM

Pope Francis’ Vatican website goes down in suspected hack

The Vatican’s official website has been knocked offline in a suspected cyber attack, just days after Pope Francis was criticised by Moscow for his latest condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Senior technology reporter Matthew Field has the latest:

The web page for the Vatican, where worshippers can find prayers, letters and papal announcements, was taken offline on Wednesday. Parts of the site remained down this morning, returning an error message to visitors.

The attack comes after Pope Francis appeared to blame Russia for the invasion of Ukraine. His previous remarks on the war have been more muted.

There is currently no indication of who was to blame for the apparent cyber attack.

A spokesman for the Holy See, Matteo Bruni, told Reuters: “Technical investigations are ongoing due to abnormal attempts to access the site.”

Read what the Pope said about the war in Ukraine.

10:50 AM

Mobile phone companies accused of hiding inflation-busting price rises from customers

Ofcom has launched an investigation into whether mobile phone companies set out clearly how the prices of customers’ contracts could rise before they signed up.

The regulator is concerned that consumers took out contracts which may not have given clear information about how the cost of their contract could rise.

It applies to contracts taken out between March 1, 2021, and June 16 this year.

Some companies link their price-rises to inflation, while some make it a percentage of the existing price and others a combination of the two, meaning consumers would pay more than the rate of inflation.

10:36 AM

Ryanair and Shell sign greener fuel deal

Ryanair planes at Dublin Airport – REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff

Ryanair will be given greater access to greener fuel at more than 200 airports across Europe after it signed a deal with Shell.

Europe’s largest airline will have access to 360,000 tonnes of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) under its agreement with Shell, which will direct supplies particularly to its largest bases in Dublin and London Stansted.

SAF only accounts for a fraction of worldwide jet fuel usage but is seen as a key way to decarbonise air travel.

The memorandum of understanding means Ryanair could save about 900,000 tonnes in CO2 emissions between 2025 and 2030 – the equivalent of 70,000 flights from Dublin to Milan.

Ryanair aims for its fuel to be made up of at least 12.5pc of SAF by 2030, and have net-zero emissions by 2050.

10:22 AM

Pound hits three-and-a-half month high

The pound has continued its gains against the dollar, briefly hitting its highest valuation against the greenback in three-and-a-half months.

The pound was up 0.8pc to well above $1.21 but has since pared back its gains.

It is presently up 0.2pc to $1.20.

The dollar has slipped back after US Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell confirmed the pace of interest rate hikes in America is set to slow.

10:12 AM

RMT chiefs say rail workers are not responsible for improving train services

Rail workers on a picket line outside Glasgow Central station in the summer – Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

A senior figure in the RMT has said rail workers are not responsible for improving train services.

Eddie Dempsey, the assistant general secretary of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers, said it was not the responsibility of his union’s members to run the railway.

Appearing on Sky News, he heard a question from a Twitter user called “Chris” who said: “They have not improved the rail workers’ performance and service levels. Why are they asking for more money?”

Mr Dempsey said: “It is not the responsibility of our members. Our members run the railway. The responsibility sits with the Department for Transport, who sets it up.

“It is a matter for the Government and the people who run the railway to set that up in the right way and they’ve made a dog’s breakfast of it because they can’t run the services when we’re not on strike, never mind when we are on strike.”

09:54 AM

Manufacturing declines in Britain for fourth month

The UK’s manufacturing sector shrank for the fourth consecutive month amid weak new business and supply chain disruption but improved marginally on the previous month.

The S&P Global/CIPS UK Manufacturing PMI scored 46.5 in November, edging up from a 46.2 reading in October.

Anything below 50 is considered to show that the sector is shrinking.

09:29 AM

Manufacturing downturn continues in eurozone

The downturn in manufacturing activity across the eurozone eased in November, according to a closely-watched survey.

S&P Global’s final manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) suggests that while the region’s factories still face a harsh winter it may not be as bad as initially feared.

The PMI rose to 47.1 from October’s 46.4, but was below a preliminary reading of 47.3 and under the 50 mark which separates growth from contraction.

09:21 AM

Gas prices surge in Europe

Natural gas prices in Europe increased with a wave of cold weather set to boost demand and test the region’s preparedness for the winter amid restricted supplies.

Benchmark futures rose as much as 13pc to the highest level since October 13.

Temperatures across Europe will likely plummet this month after a relatively mild November, and conditions could be cooler-than-average, according to Maxar Technologies and Marex.

A harsh winter could leave the continent more exposed to any further supply squeezes after Russia cut off most piped gas flow over the summer.

Gas prices are more than four times higher than normal for this time of year, fuelling inflation and hurting economies.

08:26 AM

Peel Hunt profits crash amid lack of City deals

Traders at Peel Hunt watching the mini-Budget last month – Hollie Adams/Bloomberg

City broker Peel Hunt has revealed that half-year profits crashed to just £100,000 due to a dearth of deals and flotations on the London market and as economic woes hammered investor confidence.

The group reported pre-tax profits tumbling 99.7pc from £29.5m a year earlier, with revenues down 42.4pc to £41.1m in the six months to September 30 as the group blamed a “multi-decade low for equity capital markets activity”.

It said there were only five UK stock market listings in the first half of 2022, compared with 37 a year earlier, with just 97 equity capital markets deals raising £7.9bn across the whole market. There were 257 deals raising £28.5 billion a year ago.

Peel Hunt chief executive Steven Fine said: “Challenging market conditions have persisted throughout our first half as the macroeconomic and geopolitical backdrop has continued to have an adverse impact on markets and investor sentiment.”

Rising interest rates – which have jumped to 3pc since last December as the Bank of England battles to rein in soaring inflation – are also weighing on activity.

08:01 AM

UK markets open higher

It was a positive start to the day in London where markets have reacted positively to an indication from the chairman of the US Federal Reserve that the pace of rising interest rates will slow down in America.

The blue-chip FTSE 100, which is more sensitive to changes in foreign currency and commodity prices, increased by 0.3pc to 7,592.70.

The FTSE 250 jumped a very healthy 0.8pc to 19,317.39.

07:51 AM

British Gas joins companies that will pay customers to switch off

British Gas – Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

British Gas will become the latest energy company to pay its customers to reduce the amount of electricity that they use during peak hours in order to help take pressure off the grid.

Britain’s largest energy supplier said that it hoped 100,000 customers would sign up as it launches the demand flexibility service for the households that it supplies.

The supplier becomes the latest – and the largest – to sign up to the scheme – which is run by National Grid.

However, its ambitions for participation are lower than Octopus Energy, which has so far signed up more than 400,000 customers to its version of the scheme.

Customers with smart meters will be sent emails asking them if they want to take part, British Gas said.

Under the scheme, households will be paid around £4 for every unit of electricity that they reduce their consumption by during specific times.

07:44 AM

Hotel Chocolat reports loss due to Covid restrictions

Hotel Chocolat – Belle Portwe

Chocolate retailer Hotel Chocolat suffered a loss of around £9.4m in the year to June after taking a hit from its Japanese business, where Covid restrictions continued.

The business swung from a pre-tax profit of £3.7m in the year previously. It came despite a big jump in revenue, from £165m to £226m, the business told shareholders today.

The loss came due to a set of one-off costs. When excluding them, adjusted pre-tax profit more than doubled to £21.7m.

Sales in British stores have risen my nearly a quarter compared to before the pandemic, the retailer said.

Chief executive Angus Thirlwell said: “The Hotel Chocolat brand has huge resonance with shoppers and despite the macro-economic environment, people are still treating themselves with affordable luxury and remaining loyal and we are winning new customers who recognise our quality.”

07:29 AM

SpaceX launch postponed

Elon Musk’s truce with Apple will have been welcome news for Twitter chief executive after a setback for one of his other business ventures.

SpaceX postponed the launch of the world’s first private lander to the Moon, a mission undertaken by Japanese firm ispace.

A Falcon 9 rocket was scheduled to blast off at 3.37am (8.37am GMT) this morning from Cape Canaveral in Florida, but SpaceX said further checks on the vehicle had led to a delay.

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Until now, only the United States, Russia and China have managed to put a robot on the lunar surface.

The mission by ispace is the first of a program called Hakuto-R.

The lander would touch down around April next year on the visible side of the Moon, in the Atlas crater, according to a company statement.

07:21 AM

House prices fall

British house prices tumbled 1.4pc in November compared with October, the biggest monthly drop since June 2020, mortgage lender Nationwide has said.

A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a fall of 0.3pc.

In annual terms, house price growth slowed to 4.4pc in November from 7.2pc in October, Nationwide said.

07:20 AM

EU warns Musk to beef up Twitter controls ahead of new rules

Thierry Breton, the EU’s commissioner for digital policy – AP Photo/Virginia Mayo

A top European Union official warned Elon Musk that Twitter needs to beef up measures to protect users from hate speech, misinformation and other harmful content to avoid violating new rules that threaten tech giants with big fines or even a ban in the 27-nation bloc.

Thierry Breton, the EU’s commissioner for digital policy, told the billionaire Tesla chief executive that the social media platform will have to significantly increase efforts to comply with the new rules, known as the Digital Services Act, set to take effect next year.

The two held a video call to discuss Twitter’s preparedness for the law, which will require tech companies to better police their platforms for material that, for instance, promotes terrorism, child sexual abuse, hate speech and commercial scams.

It’s part of a new digital rulebook that has made Europe a global leader in the push to rein in the power of social media companies, potentially setting up a clash with Musk’s vision for a more unfettered Twitter.

06:59 AM

Good morning

Apple “never considered” removing Twitter from its App Store, Elon Musk has said after visiting the iPhone maker’s headquarters, writes Gareth Corfield.

The multi-billionaire, who bought Twitter for $44bn (£38bn), had earlier this week suggested that Apple was going to remove the social media app from its online store.

After touring Apple’s Cupertino campus in California, Mr Musk tweeted on Wednesday night that chief executive Tim Cook personally reassured him Twitter would stay on the App Store.

He said: “Among other things, we resolved the misunderstanding about Twitter potentially being removed from the App Store. Tim was clear that Apple never considered doing so.”

Millions of people worldwide access Twitter through its iPhone app. Deleting the app from the App Store would have an immediate negative impact on the social media website.

Apparent threats to delete Twitter from the App Store were raised by Mr Musk as he accused Apple of cutting its advertising spending on Twitter, choking off an important source of income for the business.

5 things to start your day

1) Britain to suffer strike chaos every day until Christmas – Walkouts to disrupt trains, post, buses, driving tests and cash handling

2) I didn’t try to commit fraud, says FTX boss – PwC could be in line for fees worth tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars

3) How Xi’s zero-Covid rules squandered the life chances for a generation of Chinese youth – Life for many young people is moving in the opposite direction to Xi’s promised ‘Chinese dream’

4) Google hit with £13.6bn class action lawsuit – Publishers claim tech giant raked in ‘super profits’ at the expense of thousands of websites

5) Matthew Lynn: Andrew Bailey is the wrong person to save us from this crisis – The time has surely come to replace Bailey before any more damage is done

What happened overnight

Asian equities jumped, while the dollar slid as investors poured into risky assets after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell opened the door to a slowdown in the pace of monetary tightening.

In an eagerly-awaited speech, Mr Powell said the central bank could scale back the pace of its interest rate hikes “as soon as December,” but cautioned the fight against inflation was far from over.

Powell’s comments at the Brookings Institution in Washington sent the US dollar and Treasury yields lower, while stocks soared with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan 1.65pc higher.

The index posted its biggest monthly gain in nearly 30 years in November as hopes for a Fed pivot towards slower rate hikes gathered steam after four consecutive 75-basis-point increases. But the index was still down about 17.8pc on the year.

Cowen sees this airline stock continuing to separate itself from pack, gaining nearly 50% in 2023

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